The room is cool, panelled in dark wood with an odor of polish disguising a mustiness of age. It is a hot day outside. Morning, and the city is already busy about its quotidien rounds in the dazzling sun.
Perhaps you woke early with no real sense of dislocation to find your way to the breakfast room on the second floor. A selection of items from the buffet, indifferent coffee and juice, accompanied by a muted babble of polyglot conversation. It is still some hours until lunchtime and already you have crossed the broad brown river on one of the great stone bridges that carry tourists and their dollars across to the heights of the castle.
A peremptory bag search by security and several flights of wide carpetted stairs carried you into the cool of this place. You can't really pronounce its name properly but you have some idea of its function in the old regime. The guidebooks describe some of its more important architectural features in a language designed to impress the layman.
A bored woman in a brown uniform with grey hair in a bun walks in and out of the room and her radio barks two or three times and then falls silent.
An age yellowed sketch displayed on the wall shows a man and a woman in old fashioned dress. The woman is handing the man a loaf of bread. They are leaned in towards each other, clumsily off balance, smiling.
A bass tone out in the city.
It is still some hours until lunchtime.
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